A look back at 2014

At the end of every year, I like to go through my photos and take a look back and remember some highlights that have happened over these past 12 months. If I had to describe in three words what this year focused on for me, it would be: Change, Travel and Adventure. This year came with some big goodbyes and life changing events. It came with new dreams, goals, and overcoming plenty of fears. It came with challenges, frustrations as well as accomplishments and triumphs. Looking at everything in the form of pictures, a big sigh came out of me as I feel like I'm landing after a year of taking flight. 

January 2014. My band The Bruises played our last show together at Slim's in San Francisco. I miss this group of people and am so happy I got to play music with such talented amazing musicians and friends. 

January 2014. My band The Bruises played our last show together at Slim's in San Francisco. I miss this group of people and am so happy I got to play music with such talented amazing musicians and friends. 

February 2014.  We were so happy to discover such a cute little cottage to stay at. This trip sticks out for a lot of reasons. The beauty, the hot tub overlooking mountains, the rain, no internet, reading on the deck while sipping coffee, no nearby grocery store, our dog getting sick, our dog coming home with a couple of ticks (my worst fear!). It was the first of many trips we would take this year. 

February 2014.  We were so happy to discover such a cute little cottage to stay at. This trip sticks out for a lot of reasons. The beauty, the hot tub overlooking mountains, the rain, no internet, reading on the deck while sipping coffee, no nearby grocery store, our dog getting sick, our dog coming home with a couple of ticks (my worst fear!). It was the first of many trips we would take this year. 

March 2014. I'm posting this photo as a reminder to myself that I am able to accomplish things I put my mind to. I am proud to have finished my nutrition program at Bauman college in march of this year. Also my birthday month in which we took a road trip to Los Angeles and ate delicious food. You can read that post here     

March 2014. I'm posting this photo as a reminder to myself that I am able to accomplish things I put my mind to. I am proud to have finished my nutrition program at Bauman college in march of this year. Also my birthday month in which we took a road trip to Los Angeles and ate delicious food. You can read that post here 

 

 

April 2014. We took a vacation to O'ahu that had us super sad to leave. Little did we know at the time that we would be coming back to live here for a few months the same year. Life is so crazy!

April 2014. We took a vacation to O'ahu that had us super sad to leave. Little did we know at the time that we would be coming back to live here for a few months the same year. Life is so crazy!

May 2014. My best friend's wedding! What a sweet day this was. We had such a wonderful weekend spent at the Russian River filled with so many laughs and memories. You can read more about that weekend here

May 2014. My best friend's wedding! What a sweet day this was. We had such a wonderful weekend spent at the Russian River filled with so many laughs and memories. You can read more about that weekend here

June 2014. Robyn blew me away and turned me into an even bigger fan after seeing her perform live. New album in 2015? I hope so! 

June 2014. Robyn blew me away and turned me into an even bigger fan after seeing her perform live. New album in 2015? I hope so! 

July 2014. Oh july, you were filled with so many wonderful memories. 4th of July camping, Cat and I getting married, and finally a fun weekend spent in Tahoe with our best buds to celebrate. All of that can be found  here 

July 2014. Oh july, you were filled with so many wonderful memories. 4th of July camping, Cat and I getting married, and finally a fun weekend spent in Tahoe with our best buds to celebrate. All of that can be found  here 

August 2014. Home. I really thought that I had written a blog about going home to Illinois, but I guess I didn't. I did make a video about it that you can watch here . I have been living in California for 10 years now, and the older I get the harder it gets to say goodbye to family. I cherish every second I get to spend with them. I also love going back to the land of corn and seeing that beautiful city of Chicago. 

August 2014. Home. I really thought that I had written a blog about going home to Illinois, but I guess I didn't. I did make a video about it that you can watch here . I have been living in California for 10 years now, and the older I get the harder it gets to say goodbye to family. I cherish every second I get to spend with them. I also love going back to the land of corn and seeing that beautiful city of Chicago. 

September 2014. The great outdoors. Cat and I took our first solo camping trip near Jenner California (off highway 1) which was a lot of fun. We also took a trip to the Yuba river (i had never been), with our friends Natalie and Hannah. This trip sticks out for a few reasons: it wasn't 80 degrees like we had thought, our cabin had no heat, Hannah introduced us to grav lox, the town had 300 people, we wrote down things to let go of and burned them in the fire, I wore socks with my birkenstocks. Also, it was very scary to drive for 2 hours in pitch black without cell phone service to find our cabin. 

September 2014. The great outdoors. Cat and I took our first solo camping trip near Jenner California (off highway 1) which was a lot of fun. We also took a trip to the Yuba river (i had never been), with our friends Natalie and Hannah. This trip sticks out for a few reasons: it wasn't 80 degrees like we had thought, our cabin had no heat, Hannah introduced us to grav lox, the town had 300 people, we wrote down things to let go of and burned them in the fire, I wore socks with my birkenstocks. Also, it was very scary to drive for 2 hours in pitch black without cell phone service to find our cabin. 

October 2014. And just like that the bags were packed and Cat was on her way back to O'ahu for the next few months for work. This is her goodbye to Lola. It's amazing what you can get done in a short amount of time because you don't have a choice. Preparing for this trip was pretty stressful, but thankfully everything fell right into place. Cat and I miss Lola terribly and can't wait to see her when we return home in a month. 

October 2014. And just like that the bags were packed and Cat was on her way back to O'ahu for the next few months for work. This is her goodbye to Lola. It's amazing what you can get done in a short amount of time because you don't have a choice. Preparing for this trip was pretty stressful, but thankfully everything fell right into place. Cat and I miss Lola terribly and can't wait to see her when we return home in a month. 

November 2014. It is still crazy that we are here. I have adjusted to wearing shorts and flip flops instead of my black jeans and jackets. We don't have a car, we don't have many kitchen supplies, we live in a tiny studio, and let's not forget that we don't have an income. But, this is all part of the adventure and we are living in Hawaii! All we need is each other and this beautiful island. You can watch a little video I made HERE

November 2014. It is still crazy that we are here. I have adjusted to wearing shorts and flip flops instead of my black jeans and jackets. We don't have a car, we don't have many kitchen supplies, we live in a tiny studio, and let's not forget that we don't have an income. But, this is all part of the adventure and we are living in Hawaii! All we need is each other and this beautiful island. You can watch a little video I made HERE

December 2014. This never gets old. Taking it all in before we head back to San Francisco and our real lives again. 

December 2014. This never gets old. Taking it all in before we head back to San Francisco and our real lives again. 

What a year! What did I learn from a year of change, adventure and travel? Once again, this year has taught me to stop trying to control so much and live more in the moment. It taught me that I can finish things that I start. It taught me to take risks, to follow my heart, and to have more fun. It reminded me how important my family and friends are, near and far. It confirmed that saying goodbye to things you love doesn't mean they're gone. I learned that I can get a tan and sunshine really does help my spirit. I learned that doing something I was certain I'd never do, will be the best decision I could make. I was reminded that my parents are still here loving me and available for advice when I need them. That you can feel homesick even when you're in the most beautiful of places. That my partner is my very best friend. I learned that I can live without most of the "things" that I thought were important. I learned to never take for granted the amazing food and markets we have in San Francisco! I was reminded of how much I love the warm rain. I was reminded that I'm really lucky. 2014 will be a year I'll never forget.  

 

Currently Obsessed With

Beach

  1. I bought a pair of Hurley Phantom Sandals after walking one too many miles in my havaianas. The difference is incredible. They are a bit pricey for a pair of flip flops, but if you are doing a lot of walking I highly recommend these. They feel like a Nike sneaker with a sturdy sole and arch support. *Mine are black and white*
  2. I bought this baggu shark tote for $10 before I left San Francisco. It is my every day beach bag. I can easily fit everything I need for the day into it. The best part is after a day at the beach I can just flip it inside out and get all the sand out. Light weight and very durable. $10 well spent!
  3. Sun Bum sunscreen. Ok Ok. I'm a sucker for nice packaging, but this stuff also smells amazing and is good for your skin. A lot of sunscreens are filled with too many chemicals. Although Sun Bum isn't 100% natural, they are made with better ingredients than most sunscreens sold in your every day store. I bought this off of amazon (because it sells on the beach for double the cost). 
  4. Longan Berry. Cat and I bought these at a fruit stand on the North shore and were instantly obsessed. They are similar to a Lychee in texture, but they have a sweeter taste, almost like a grape. I found a farmers market near us that sells them and we bring them for a beach snack. I also froze a couple just to see how they would taste... YUM! 

 

Music

Stromae. I feel I'm late in discovering this European talent, but better late than never. When I find something musically that I like, I become seriously obsessed with it. I've been youtubing a lot of his live performances, and all it is doing is making me more in love with his music. This song in particular is my jam

Laughs

Another thing I'm late to the party for is Broad City. I think I might have had my head too lost in Game of Thrones to check this out when I kept hearing the name everywhere I turned. Cat and I watched the first season in a couple of nights and we were laughing so hard, like, cackling. 

Pilates

I am 2 weeks in with doing pilates every day and it is the first workout I can honestly say I've ever liked. I actually love it. I feel like part of me loving it so much comes from not putting any pressure on myself for some overnight magic to happen. I love it because it's helping my body heal and get stronger. I love it because I feel better after I do it. Before I came on this trip I was going to physical therapy every week to try and get my back and pelvis back to normal. I also have a lot of sciatic pain and doing pilates every day is helping with it a lot. I'm just doing beginner videos on youtube right now, starting slow. But every day I feel better and actually look forward to my workout. It's playing a nice part in my mind, body, soul reboot that I'm on.  When I get back to the city I hope to find a class to join and make it a part of my new routine. 

Book Report

Girl Power!

 I've read 3 books this month, all written by women. Following is a short book review with some things I've learned from each book and how I've applied it in my life thus far. 

Not That Kind Of Girl, by Lena Dunham

This was the first book I read once I got to the island. I devoured it in a few days. I would be cracking up to myself by the pool and could hear Lena's very distinct voice in my head while I was reading her words. Lena is honest, hilarious, and says a lot of the things that most of us (myself for sure) find hard to say out loud. I liked the little chapters about emails that she wished she had written to people.The lists of things she's learned from her parents and the things she's learned that are not okay to say to your friends. I once told my best friend "how are you going to fit your fat foot into that skinny boot?" We laugh about it now, but it was an awful thing to say.  If I were to compose a list of things not to say to your friends, that would be on it. For the record, she doesn't even have a fat foot.  I will for sure read this book a 2nd time.

The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain 

Works of fiction are a little more difficult for me to get into. I bought this book a year ago, started it and then sat it down. I decided to pack it with me for this trip and I'm happy that I did. It is a historical work of fiction written from the voice and perspective of Ernest Hemmingway's first wife Hadley Richardson. It takes place in the 1920's during the jazz age in Paris. I love this era. I also love that this is based on real events and I was able to google image Hadley and see what she really looked like. I was able to see a photo of Hadley, Ernest, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald all sitting around a table at an outdoor cafe in Paris. I would stare at the photos for a long time. *Spoiler alert if you don't already know*One part of the book that really made me nervous was when Hadley was on her way to meet Ernest and decided to surprise him by bringing all of his written work up to date.... and then she lost it on the train. In the book Ernest reacts pretty lovingly, but I'm not sure that's how it really went down. The other week I was walking with Cat's very expensive camera. I was taking extreme caution while carrying it but I made a dumb mistake of putting it into a flimsy backpack, which of course came unzipped while I was walking. The camera crashed to the concrete. My heart sank. I called Cat to tell her what I had done and the first thing she asked was if I was ok. I realized in that moment more about love than I have in a long time.  I flashed to the Paris wife and how afraid Hadley was to tell Ernest she lost his work. Once I finished this book I felt sad that I didn't have a book club. I really really really still want to discuss this book.  *note* Cat's camera is A-ok. 

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler

Who doesn't love Amy Poehler?! This book is a very quick read. Amy is not only funny but super smart and hard working. I really enjoyed the chapter called "I'm so proud of you" which touches on how differently women are treated in the industry. (Let's be honest, women are treated differently in life. Lena also talks about this a lot in her book). Amy is pretty quick to put people in their place. This chapter has a story of how she let some producer hug her after he messed up her bit. I've been dealing with older men in Waikiki telling me their opinions a lot. Letting me know I need more sun, or that I don't swim with proper technique and then badgering me to show them the proper way to swim. After reading this book I feel a little more empowered and I will probably yell "You can't hug me!" at the next opinionated man. 

I love that I have so much time to read. All of my books have sand in them along with a thin layer of sunscreen from touching my legs while I read. Next time I open these I hope to remember exactly where I was when I read them. 

Any suggestions as to what to read next?